For ten years, in my position at the time, I provided student loan, money management and financial literacy training on university and college campuses to both undergraduate and graduate students, from technical programs to professional programs. The one thing I almost always came away with after a training session was that we weren’t educating these students soon enough and that college (and high school) wasn’t when we needed to start. It begins at home, but we know that’s not always where it can or will happen, because parents or guardians may never have had the financial literacy skills taught to them either. Offering the skills during middle/junior high school or even better, at the end of elementary school, and then continuing to reinforce them throughout each school year afterward is critical to moving forward and finding true financial literacy for our next generation.
I don’t have the privilege of that position anymore, but I still can make a difference through other avenues at the local level through our Junior Achievement programs that offer one class per week over six weeks during the school year. Plus I can connect with others who are passionate at all levels about financial literacy online. The amount of material is fantastic, and so helpful. I’ve really targeted middle schoolers, because I’ve seen firsthand that the needs to educate begin early. With the used of tablets and iPads in many schools, internet access has become much more open. And even better, they can share what they learn when they go home.
One of the tools I’ve been using to help support financial literacy education efforts beyond the classroom lessons includes videos from Professor Savings 90 day finance basics bootcamp specifically for kids (weeks 9, 10, 11 and 12) at http://www.
I was looking for brief, short but to the point financial literacy content for students in those middle school classes to help drive home the lessons. These videos are great and the new roll out of the 90 Day Finance Basics Bootcamp makes it so simple to catch 2 or 3 lessons per day for 90 days and know a lot more than when you started, plus the articles under the 1 minute videos amplify the messages. It’s super easy. Plus the weeks are broken out by topics, so there’s a week of budgeting videos, two weeks of Fin Lit for kids and two weeks for college students/young adults, so it’s awesome for kids and parents alike.
I’ve tried to drive home in presentations and classes to repeat and repeat viewing/listening to anything on financial literacy, because it takes awhile to all sink in. These videos completely help with the repetition component, but also cover so much. And I’ve always believed the critical time to capture kids was much earlier, because I’ve seen such a lack of skills at the college level. Make sure to contact your local Junior Achievement and see how you can help teach classes in your community. It’s never too early to start learning financial literacy.
Barbara Stapleton (former student loan officer)